Canada’s powerful maple syrup cartel faces a shortage so bad that it has to exploit £ 50 million of strategic reserves

children's fingers catching dripping juice from a tree

They call it “Quebec’s liquid gold.”Ricky Carioti / The Washington Post via Getty Images

  • Canada’s maple syrup cartel drained about half of its strategic stock this year.

  • A short harvest season, combined with rising demand, drove the move.

  • “We need to produce more maple syrup,” said a spokeswoman.

Canada’s maple syrup cartel can not keep up.

Quebec producers of maple syrup, known as the maple syrup “cartel” because they control such a large share of the market, drain 50 million pounds of the sweet liquid gold from their reserve, about half of the entire strategic stock, Bloomberg reported.

“We need to produce more maple syrup,” spokeswoman Helene Normandin told Bloomberg. “The reserve is there to ensure we are always able to sell and offer this product.”

QMSP, a consortium of more than 11,000 Canadian manufacturers, is handling rising demand and dwindling supply. A hot spring this year resulted in a shorter syrup harvest, which reduced production by 24%, Bloomberg said. This is the first time in three years that QMSP has needed to utilize its reserve.

“We see people cooking more at home and using more local produce,” Normandin said, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the reasons why demand for the sweet sticky stuff has increased.

4 members of team canada with medals on, drinking maple syrup

Team Canada drinks maple syrup on March 18, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec.Minas Panagiotakis / International Skating Union via Getty Images

The Canadian syrup cartel controls more than 70% of the supply of maple syrup worldwide. Maple syrup production in the United States, while a much smaller market share, has also declined this year.

Just over a decade ago, the Canadian syrup warehouse fell victim to the maple syrup theft of the century. As Vanity Fair reported later540,000 gallons of syrup (approximately 12.5% ​​of the caches) were quietly removed from storage. The robbery cost more than $ 13 million USD, making it the most expensive robbery in Canadian history.

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